Are soulmates real? If she could, my younger self would be smiling while reading this and silently hoping that the older, less credulous Emma answers yes to this question. “Yes, Small Emma. Soulmates are real.” But are they? And if so, are they really how humanity perceives them?
I grew up watching Disney movies like most little girls and boys. A franchise that oozes magic and happily ever afters. The paramount for motion pictures with princesses who are swept away by their princes after one night at a ball or a singular magic carpet ride. My younger sister and I would reenact the movies and attempt to dress up like the princesses on our television screens but one thing was consistently missing: the prince. (And obviously, that factor still hasn’t changed.) At the time, however, it didn’t mean the same as it does now. Then, all I cared about was the handsome (need I remind you, animated) prince and how thrilling it would be to become Cinderella.
Throughout the past few years, dating has been brought to my attention more and more. In fact, when I told my elementary school friends I’d be attending an all-girls high school, their immediate response was, “But there aren’t any boys! Why?” Then there is social media, jokes from relatives, and every rom-com in existence. Do I occasionally indulge myself with thoughts of what it’d be like to be in a relationship? Of course. Do I swoon over the idea of finding my perfect soulmate? Every now and again, yes, but I don’t see it the same way as I once did. At this point, it can be truly exhausting hearing about the topic so often and I’m only in my sophomore year of high school.
For a while, I have been bothered that many feel dating should be one of my top priorities. It’s aggravating to need to prove to others that I’m not regretful of my decision to pick IHA, a school with exclusively teenage girls. It’s irritating to constantly have to answer my “favorite” question, “Aren’t you scared you’ll never know how to act around guys?” Which, I’ll never understand how this inquiry is as common as it is. It is not like I don’t have male friends outside of school.
But the hardest part of the scrutiny is hearing women tear each other down while questioning my decision. “Girls are really so mean. How do you do it?” “Just girls? That sounds unhealthy.” “There must be so much gossip! How do you make it work?” “My parents want there to be boys there too since girls can turn to mean fast.” “My daughter lost all of her friends because they were jealous that she looked better in a bikini then they did. It must be exhausting having no escape from that.” Yes, these are real questions by women, teens, and young girls. The fact that our society doesn’t believe that having solely female friendships is normal, or healthy shocks me. While I have guy friends, all of my closest friends are all girls. It makes me question myself and how I “make it work”.
So how does this tie into the question, “Are soulmates real?’” Well, recently I’ve come to a shocking realization. It’s so shocking that I sat down to write about the experience without any indication that it would go somewhere. Without confirmation that it might have some sort of impact on others. But the most astonishing part of this realization is, it’s not like others haven’t thought or said it before. This realization is me, finally acknowledging the proposition for myself. It’s me finally experiencing it for myself.
Yes, soulmates are real and they don’t need to be romanticized. Soulmates don’t need to be the prince that carries you off into the sunset, or more realistically, the teenage boy that gives you butterflies (and his sweatshirt) and makes you laugh. My soulmate, or soulmates I should say, are my small group of best friends. The friendships I made my Freshman year at IHA, the ones I’m continuing to grow this year. The girls I know that will be by my side through many trials and tribulations or when eventually, that certain boy breaks my heart. They’re loyal, intelligent, and driven. They’re grounded in their ideals and would fight for what they believed in no matter what. However, and most importantly, my best friends are some of the kindest, most caring people I’ve ever met and I’m so lucky that I get to grow with them in my all-girls school.
So yes, I believe soulmates are real. Maybe they’re not real in the traditionally perceived way but I think that I’ve found people that I can connect with. People that can make me laugh no matter the arduous day and those I can trust to confide in.
Hopefully one day my prince will come, but for now, I’m not in too much of a rush to find him.
By: Emma Hawryluk’22